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“Deep calleth upon Deep” is the brand new album from the Norwegian duo Satyricon. Satyr and Frost have once again surprised the music industry with their sound... this album marks the beginning of a brand new era for Satyricon. Check out the conversation Metal Imperium had with the awesome force behind the drums...

M.I. - This year marks the 25th anniversary of the release of your “All Evil” demo. What’s the main difference between Satyricon then and now?

I didn’t see that anniversary-remark coming...anyway. Satyricon was born from passion and a sincere will to create and innovate, and we have followed a path of evolution and dedication since the early days. That means that a lot has happened during these 25 years, because we have constantly been in motion and never tried to find a set expression or formula. Satyricon today isn’t as much about having lots of ideas, ambitions, plans and goals, but rather being the musical manifestation of these principles.

M.I. - All reviews being published are unanimous and mention that “Deep Calleth Upon Deep” is Black metal at its finest... what’s the biggest difference between your first full-length “Dark Medieval Times” and the latest one?

There’s a fine spirit and a very particular atmosphere on Dark Medieval Times, but in terms of musicality it isn’t exactly impressive. Deep calleth upon Deep is a lot about reflecting the spirit and attitude of the songs in the arrangements, perfomance and production, and hence amplifying the impact of the songs enormously. Comparing those two album is almost like comparing a child to an adult; it hardly makes sense to even do it.

M.I. - The band’s bio refers that the new album ‘Deep calleth upon Deep’ is a wholesale reinvention and a brand new era in Satyricon’s history. Supposedly it is also a profound statement about the essence of SATYRICON’s music and the eternal value of art itself. Why?

I guess that is where we have travelled with Deep calleth upon Deep. Through working with music – given that you truly put your heart and soul in it – you gain insights, improve and expand. As evolution took place on a grand scale as we created the new album, we did also move further and dig deeper, and rocked the very foundations of Satyricon, rather than just altering the surface.

M.I. - The new record title was taken from a line in Psalm 42:7 in the Bible and it’s a profound statement about the essence of Satyricon’s music. Why did you decide to use this line from The Bible? Have you ever read that book? What’s your opinion about it?

As Satyr came across the quote and reflected over it, it became clear to him that this was truly the title of the album. Music that has arisen from the deepest recesses of our beings, and that speaks to the depths of the listener. It is what this album is about, and other interpretations or connotations of the title make great sense as well. In this context it doesn’t actually matter that it is a quote from the Bible. 

M.I. - Satyricon spent 2016 celebrating the 20th anniversary of Nemesis Divina, performing the album live in its entirety , while working on the new album... was it easy? Did the tour influence or help the new album somehow? Do you think any of your other albums will have the same impact this one did? 

The anniversary shows were happening in parallell with work on the new album; the projects weren’t entangled in any way, and to the extent we had to multitask, we did so. I don’t think the two projects had significant effects on each other, but there was still something to be learnt about past and present alike going back in time and rediscovering what we were about and how we functioned 20 years ago. 

M.I. - The new songs are definitely an expansion of the Satyricon sonic universe yet they are all so different. Satyr advised fans to consider it a journey, play it loud, close your eyes and head into the forest. How do they work together? How further can you still go? What issues did you write about in this album?

Deep calleth upon Deep is not based on any concepts; I feel that the different songs collectively constitutes a living entity and what connects the parts is the creativity and spirit that the songs come from, and the organic sound of the album. So where can we go from here? We don’t know at this point, and we like it to be that way. We wouldn’t like to become predictable.

M.I. - The album’s front cover is an obscure drawing from 1898 by the greatest Norwegian artist of all time, Edvard Munch. Why have you opted for this cover? What’s its connection to the album?

“The Kiss of Death” is a beautiful picture in itself, but above all it is an almost frighteningly strong visual parallell to the music of Deep calleth upon Deep. Direct, raw and naked on the one side, profoundly expressful, spiritful and intriguing on the other. Dark, disturbing and menacing. We couldn’t have found a better way to illustrate the content of the album.

M.I. - The album includes people from the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra palying violin, cello, contrabassoon, bass clarinet and also jazz saxophonist and opera tenor Håkon Kornstad. In what way did these collaborations contribute to the sound of the album, since they’re so subtle?

These various textures add depth, emphasize atmospheres and contributes to giving life and identity to the songs.

M.I. - Satyricon will be touring in the next few months... Satyr said he wants to make this the most powerful and the best touring cycle you’ve ever done and as a performing artist you always want to be the best version of yourself. Do you still get as excited about it as you probably did when you first started off?  Can we assume you are perfectionists and only feel happy with the best? What can fans expect of this tour?

You are quite right in your assumptions. It is in the nature of this band to constantly strive to get better. Deep calleth upon Deep has definitely taken the band to a very good and inspiring place. Those that come to our shows will encounter a Satyricon that is on fire.

M.I. - The band is offering tickets to the concert on the roof of the Barcode in Oslo! You have invited your fans to sing Deep calleth upon Deep and the most courageous ones have indeed done it... how complicated was it choosing the winner? 

I have to admit I don’t know that much about the contest...my concern is the performance.

M.I. - Satyr has been having some health issues that would affect anyone mentally and physically. Have these issues put life and things in a different perspective for you? Normally we only think hazards like this only happen to the others... has it affected Satyricon somehow? 

Of course it has effected us. Satyr has anyway demonstrated that he is stronger than his condition and works with a downright impressive capacity. May it continue.

Questions by Sónia Fonseca